Auto Trader is signed up as Tiscali revamps its portal

Tiscali has struck a deal with motoring magazine Auto Trader, ahead of a relaunch of its online portal planned for early 2008. The portal plans to roll out an array of new features, with video at the centre, in a bid to reverse an audience decline of more than 28% during the past 12 months (Source: Nielsen Online).

Prior to the relaunch, Tiscali has teamed with Auto Trader to provide users with new and used car listings. The car title has embedded a search engine in Tiscali's motoring offering so that users can find and buy cars online through the portal.

Auto Trader has developed its online offering and now attracts more than eight million unique users a month, according to the latest ABC Electronic figures. It has embarked on a policy of striking deals to extend its reach. Sky.com was the latest to sign a deal in September.

Tiscali's revamp, planned to go live in January, will see video placed at the heart of the site. Video content on Tiscali is limited at the moment, but the portal is seeking a slice of the growing flow of ad money heading towards online video services.

Tiscali's move follows MSN's bid to make video a core part of its offering in October through the launch of MSN Video.

The Microsoft portal has signed up major broadcasters including the BBC, ITN, Reuters, the Biography Channel and the History Channel. Portals such as Tiscali, MSN, AOL and Yahoo! are facing huge competition from social media sites, including Bebo and MySpace.

Bebo effectively repositioned as an entertainment site last month, when it secured content from broadcasters including ITN and Channel 4. The launch was another example of social networks increasingly entering into competition with portals. MySpace, built on a community of music lovers, defines itself as a portal, rather than a social network.

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